First Look: San Jose State vs. Penn State
Spartans head to Big Ten country
SJSU has its hands full with Penn State
San Jose State’s non-conference slate includes one of the best teams in the country in Penn State. This is clearly a game where the Spartans were brought in as basically a scrimmage for the Nittany Lions as they are in the conversation for a College Football Playoff berth.
At the very least this will be a learning experience and a chance to play the toughest team on their schedule, and perhaps help them in league play when the competition is not as tough.
One of the real reasons this game was taken on was the paycheck that comes with a buy game. Go out there and learn something playing the Big Ten.
Location: State College, Pennsylvania
Mascot: Beaver Stadium
Conference: Big Ten
2019 Record: 11-2
All-time series: First meeting
Offensive players to watch:
Penn State returns a lot on offense and it starts at quarterback with Sean Clifford going into his second year as a starter. He has weapons around him arguably the best tight end in the Big Ten in Pat Freiermuth.
They do have a new offensive coordinator in Kirk Ciarrocca who from Minnesota and that is a good thing as the Golden Gophers were second in yards per play and third in points per game, so there should not be any sort of let down with someone new running the offense.
Chambers should be in contention for one of the best passers in the Big Ten, last year he had 23 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He will have a new receiving group to throw too, but the offensive line returns four starters and should be much improved in 2020.
The running game should be featured with Journey Brown who averaged 6.9 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns last year.
Defensive Players To Watch:
The Nittany Lions might have the best linebacker in the country in Micah Parsons who had 109 tackles, 14 for a loss and earned All-America honors. In the Cotton Bowl he stepped up with 14 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles.
Other key defenders include Shaka Toney as a defensive end and interior defender Antonio Shelton. Toney is likely a first-team All-Big Ten selection while Shelton brings some experience to a defense that lost a lot of production from 2019.
If we are being honest, San Jose State will very likely lose in a blowout vs. a top-10 or better team. The Spartans might be able to throw a little in this game but the defense will need to stop a running attack which will be at the top of its conference. Keeping this game within 20 points will be a minor miracle.